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6 min read

The best social media marketing tools for businesses

Most of your customers aren’t going to visit your website or shop on a daily basis. But they are more than likely to make multiple visits to at least one social media network. That’s why it makes sense for your business to have a presence on social media too. This article looks at how you can effectively utilise social media for your brand and the best tools to help you do this.

What are social media marketing tools?

Social media marketing is where a brand uses social media to connect with its audience. 

The main social media channels are currently: 

  • Facebook 
  • Instagram 
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn 
  • Pinterest 
  • YouTube 
  • Snapchat
  • TikTok 

The social media channels you choose to utilise will depend on the nature of your business and it’s probably unwise to spread yourself thin trying to be across all of them. However, even managing one social media profile on one channel can be time-consuming. That’s where social media marketing tools can help. 

Social media marketing tools have different functions to help businesses manage their social media profiles.

Does my business need social media marketing tools?

There are number of ways social media marketing tools can help you. 

  • Save you time managing your profiles by giving you an overview of all your channels in one place.
  • Help you plan and schedule posts across all your channels. 
  • Gain insights such as audience demographics and top performing posts. 
  • Identify and connect with influencers in your industry. 
  • Set up alerts for specific keywords, mentions, hashtags and trends and find relevant content to share.
  • Automate activity so that the tool will do some of the work for you. 

The five pillars of social media marketing

It’s all well and good investing in snazzy tools but they can’t do all the work for you. To get the most out of social media marketing tools you should be familiar with the five pillars of social media marketing. 

  • Text on a whiteboard
    Strategy

    Your strategy will define your purpose and objectives for social media marketing. At this stage, you will probably want to undertake some research, work out what business problems you are trying to solve and make sure your social media marketing strategy falls in line with your overall marketing and brand strategy.

  • Person using iMac
    Planning

    Once you have your strategy in place, it’s time to plan your campaigns and content. You might want to start by creating an editorial calendar which is a publishing schedule which outlines the broader themes that you will be covering by month or season. Then comes a content calendar which is a more detailed day-to-day publishing schedule with events, article and post ideas and who is responsible for them.

  • Two screens phone and laptop
    Publishing

    Next comes pressing ‘send’, ‘post’ or ‘tweet’. If you have plans in place then you can be prepared with a bank of assets to use when you are posting. These might be images, videos or other visuals. Social media management tools can help you optimise content for each channel by telling you things like the best times to post, image sizes and character counts.

  • Close up of iPhone apps
    Listening and engagement

    Social media for business may have started as a broadcast channel but it has moved way past that. It’s about being part of a community which means multi-way conversations. Social media marketing tools can help you monitor mentions and manage replies.

  • Screen with analytics
    Tracking

    The social media platforms themselves will give you some analytics if you have your profile set up as ‘business’. Social media management tools can offer further insights and reporting dashboards so that you can see how your has content performed.

Checklist: 8 considerations when choosing a social media marketing tool

Use the checklist below to weigh up the different considerations when picking the right social media marketing tool for your business. 

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The 10 best social media marketing tools

Based on the information in this article, we’ve collated the 10 best social media marketing tools that will enable you to hit your social media goals. 


Best for value… Buffer

  • Publish and reply
  • Analysis
  • Good customer support 

Cost: From £11.89 a month*


Best for bulk scheduling… Hootsuite

  • Have multiple feeds
  • Bulk scheduling 
  • Insights 

Cost: From £22.99 a month*


Best for reporting… Sprout Social

  • Insightful reporting and data studies 
  • Publishing tools 
  • Social CRM 

Cost: From £78.50 per user per month*


Best for planning… CoSchedule

  • All-in-one marketing calendar
  • Social campaigns 
  • Intelligent resharing – ‘ReQueue’

Cost: From £0 a month


Best for Twitter… TweetDeck

  • Multiple Twitter timelines in one interface 
  • Schedule tweets in advance 
  • Create collections of topics, events, interests, conversations, and more, all in real-time. 

Cost: Free 


Best for Instagram… Later 

  • Visual content calendar 
  • Linkin.bio – multiple links and optimised landing pages
  • Media library 

Cost: From £7.14 a month* 


Best for content creation… Edgar

  • Content recycling based on categories 
  • Automated scheduling 
  • Unlimited content library 

Cost: £38.85 a month*


Best for listening… BrandMentions

  • Keyword tracking 
  • All mentions of anyone or anything
  • Analytics and sentiment analysis 

Cost: From £38.85 a month*


Best for discovering content…Crowdfire 

  • Schedules new posts
  • Tracks mentions  
  • Analytics 

Cost: From £7.92 a month*


Best for large businesses… NUVI 

  • Data visualisation 
  • Social monitoring and listening 
  • Competitor monitoring 

Cost: From £237.88 per user.*


*Conversion rate from USD on XE.com on 31/05/20.

Before you choose a social media management platform first decide what you want to do with it and use it for. What’s the main functionality you require? What’s the objective of using social media and how are you going to achieve that objective? All of the above tools either have free versions or 14/30-day free trials available so you can see how it works before you fully commit.

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